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posted: 9/16/2012 8:50 PM

Cubs have decision to make at third base

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It will be interesting to see how the Cubs' third-base situation shakes out this off-season and in spring training.

Manager Dale Sveum sat Josh Vitters in Sunday's 13-9 victory even though the Pirates started left-handed pitcher Jeff Lock and Vitters homered off Lock the previous weekend in Pittsburgh.

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Vitters did get a pinch-hitting appearance, and he grounded out in the fifth inning.

Sveum cited Luis Valbuena's superior defense at third base.

Neither Vitters nor Valbuena has hit much, but Valbuena has been the superior defender, especially on throws.

"It's the routine plays that seem to be giving him the most problem," Sveum said of Vitters. "The spontaneous plays, he's made all those, in great fashion, really.

"He's got up and made good throws on the dives and the body-control plays, he's done well on. He's coming and gotten a lot better since the first day I saw him."

Valbuena is a journeyman, while Vitters still is considered a prospect. The Cubs will have to decide if he is their third baseman of the future and if that future begins in earnest next year.

They brought Ian Stewart in this year in what has turned out to be an ill-fated trade with Colorado. A wrist injury and poor production derailed Stewart's season.

The Cubs can either go into spring training with what they have, give Stewart another shot, or seek another veteran.

Until then, Sveum says they need to work with Vitters in the field.

"That's something we've got to get to the bottom of," he said. "The one thing he's got to stop doing on the routine plays is looking at the runner when he fields the groundball. That will get you out of whack right away.

"On the spontaneous plays, you don't do that. On the routine, he wants to look at the runner and then pick up the first baseman. That kind of throws your rhythm off."

Century mark for Sori:

Left fielder Alfonso Soriano had an RBI single in the first inning to put him at 100 RBI for the season. He doubled home a run in the eighth.

This is the third time Soriano has reached 100 or more RBI in a season. He had 104 with Texas in 2005 and 102 with the Yankees in 2002.

"I'm just feeling good, my first time batting fourth," he said of his role this year as the Cubs' cleanup hitter. "I've had a lot of opportunities to drive guys in."

Making an impression:

Rookie Left-hander Jeff Beliveau picked up his first major-league win in relief, but another rookie, Jaye Chapman, came up huge in the seventh after Starling Marte tripled against him leading off with the Cubs up 10-9.

Chapman got Neil Walker on a lineout before getting the dangerous Andrew McCutchen on a called third strike.

Garrett Jones walked and then broke for second. Chapman didn't panic, and he got Marte caught between home and third as catcher Welington Castillo tagged him out after only one throw.

"He showed me a lot today, that's for sure," Dale Sveum said of Chapman.

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